18 August 2014

Long time between posts but lots has happened. I moved back to the US eight months ago to be closer to family, a huge decision for me after 18 years in Australia. A few months ago a friend in Del Mar put me in touch with a fantastic woman named Cece who does animal rescue and wanted some help getting a community garden happening. She and her husband have generously allowed people in the neighborhood to grow food on their land.  The experience has been amazing. I'm getting to know some wonderful people, growing my own food again, mostly from heirloom seed, and helping people who have never planted before.  Stay tuned for a special journey!

p.s. photo credit and garden logo by Tom Kabbash

15 September 2013

Backyard Biodiversity

I've been sick for almost a month but carrying on as best as I can. Blah. Had a cold on and off for two weeks, felt a bit better, then came down with a respiratory infection a few days ago that floored me. Today the sun was shining and I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed a blanket and had a snooze on a lounge chair in the front yard. Listening to a TED talks podcast after I woke up, I was amazed at the action happenin' in my little patch.

Suburban gardens support a huge amount of biodiversity. In a rare afternoon where I physically couldn't do any more than watch the world, I saw a myriad of bird and bug species at close range...what a joy! The wattle birds and mockingbirds were warbling, the bees were buzzing and the ants were crawling. I saw four different types of butterflies including the Australian Painted Lady (in pic above), Yellow Admiral and Common Brown. There were native and European honey bees collecting nectar, ants of various sizes, at least 3 different types of spiders, and a few flies.

Last week I had the pleasure of hearing the dynamic ecologist, author and professor James Hitchmough speak several times while visiting from Sheffield England. He mentioned a book called Wildlife of a Garden by Jennifer Owen. This amazing 30 year study by one woman of her own garden documented over 2,000 species of insects and other invertebrates. There's a lot happening close to home when we can slow down and have a look.